DavidGilbert99 writes "Labelled as an 'oddly regressive move,' developers of Star Wars: the Old Republic have decided that all gay characters will be stuck on a single planet called Makeb. The move comes with the release of the Rise of the Hutt Cartel pack and the Makeb planet will be the only place in the game where players can select 'flirtatious' dialogue options with characters of the same gender. From the article: 'BioWare executive producer Jeff Hickman apologised for same sex relationships taking so long to be added to the game, referring to the company's most famous title Mass Effect, where homosexual relationships are available by default: "First of all, I want to apologize that this is taking so long to get in the game," wrote Hickman in a blog post. "I realise that we promised SGR (same gender relationships) to you guys and that many of you believed that this would be with a companion character. Unfortunately, this will take a lot more work than we realised at the time and it (like some other pieces of content we talked about earlier in the year) has been delayed as we focused on the changes required to take the game Free-to-Play. '"
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An anonymous reader writes "Game designer Tadhg Kelly writes at TechCrunch about a trend many gamers have noticed over the past decade: designers increasingly relying on statistics — and only statistics — to inform their design decisions. You know the type; the ones who'll change the background color if they think it'll eke out a few more players, or the ones who'll scrap interesting game mechanics in favor of making the game more easily understandable to a broader market. Naturally, this leads to homogenization and boring games. Kelly says, 'Obsessed with measuring everything and therefore defining all of their problems in numerical terms, social game makers have come to believe that those numbers are all there is, and this is why they cannot permit themselves to invent. Like TV people, they are effectively in search of that one number that will explain fun to them. There must, they reason, be some combination of LTV and ARPU and DAU and so on that captures fun, like hunting for the Higgs boson. It must be out there somewhere. ... Unlike every other major game revolution (arcade, console, PC, casual, MMO, etc.), social game developers have proved consistently unable to understand that fun is dynamic in this way. ... They are hunting for the fun boson, but it does not exist.'"
angry tapir writes "Australia's Classification Board today announced the first video game to receive the new R18+ classification which came into effect at the start of 2013, indicating the title is to be sold only to adults. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, developed by Team Ninja, is published by Nintendo for the company's new Wii U console. The R18+ classification was created after a long campaign by gamers and game publishers. Previously games had a maximum rating of MA, and titles that didn't meet the criteria had to be reworked or not released in Australia."
An anonymous reader writes with an update to an earlier story about a group wanting to destroy your violent video games. "Southington, a town in Connecticut, has canceled its plans to collect and destroy violent games, stating that it has already succeeded in raising attention." Perhaps the real reason: "Backed by the Southington Chamber of Commerce, SouthingtonSOS originally planned to offer citizens $25 gift certificates in exchange for their violent games, films, and CDs, which the group would collect for 'permanent disposal.'"
adeelarshad82 writes "Oculus VR Rift is a one of the seventeen kickstarter projects to raise more than a million dollars in 2012 and a recently published hands-on shows exactly why it was so successful. Using Oculus VR Rift with the upcoming Infinity Blade and a modified version of Unreal Tournament 3, the analyst found that the 3D effect and head tracking provided a great sense of immersion. At one point while playing Infinity Blade, the analyst describes walking around the guards and watching their swords shift as he stepped, seeming like they were inches from cutting him. While he felt that the demo was impressive, he found that the software limitations made the whole experience a bit unrealistic. Needless to say that Oculus Rift is a long way from hitting stores but Oculus VR is getting ready to ship developer kits."
adeelarshad82 writes "Valve's presence at CES this year isn't to show off some new games, it's all about meeting with hardware manufacturers behind closed doors to talk about Steam Box. In an interview at CES which highlights Valve's plans for the console, Gabe Newell describes Steam Box as two projects. The first, codenamed Bigfoot, focuses on the hardware for use in the home with a TV. The second, codenamed Littlefoot, is investigating mobile gaming. Gabe goes on to discuss Valve plans on having three levels of Steam Box described as 'Good, Better, or Best' and expectations for the controller where the company wants something that's more high precision than anything else out there at the moment." The interview at the Verge is pretty extensive.
An anonymous reader writes "As the next generation of consoles looms, we've seen a growing trend towards low price, compact alternatives such as the Ouya and GameStick, many of which run on the Android mobile platform. But this article on the trend raises a very good point: through the use of cloud computing and game streaming technology, it's entirely possible these machines will be able to keep pace with the powerhouse technology inside the Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox 720, and perhaps even overtake them. After all, if these little boxes can simply stream from powerful servers, how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up?"
adeelarshad82 writes "A year after Razer tantalized us all with a concept device codenamed Project Fiona, the company has unveiled the Razer Edge, the world's first tablet designed exclusively for high-end gaming. With the help of crowdsourcing endeavor of tapping into Razer's fanbase for input on everything from chipset to physical dimensions, 'Project Fiona' has morphed from concept to full-blown reality. The Razer Edge is a 10.1-inch device which weighs a shade under 2 pounds and measures 0.8-inches thick. The device comes in two models: Base and Pro. The Base model sports an Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB RAM, and a 64GB SSD, whereas the Pro comes configured with a beefier Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, and the option for either a 128GB or 256GB SSD. Both models feature a USB 3.0 port, and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and both run on a full version of Windows 8 with Intel architecture, in turn allowing PC games to run natively on the Edge without the need to be ported or optimized."
arclightfire writes "Endgame:Syria billed itself as the first game to cover on ongoing war in a mashup of interactivity and journalism. However it seems like Apple is not happy with this idea, as PocketTactics reports; 'Apple's app guidelines have once again tripped up the release of a strategy game rooted in a real-world conflict. Auroch Digital's Endgame Syria has been rejected by Apple's approvals team for violating guidelines section 15.3, "solely target[ing] a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity." If section 15.3 sounds familiar, it's because it was the clause invoked when Cupertino said no to Pacific Fleet back in September – the game ran afoul of the guidelines for including Japanese flags in a WWII naval sim.'"
xynopsis writes "Looks like the final version of the Linux based Steam Gaming Console has been made public at CES. The result of combined efforts of small-form-factor maker Xi3 and Valve, the gaming box named 'Piston' is a potential game changer in transforming the Linux desktop and gaming market. The pretty device looks like a shrunk Tezro from Silicon Graphics when SGI used to be cool." Looks like Gabe Newell wasn't kidding.
MojoKid writes "NVIDIA made some bold moves at their CES 2013 press conference and announced a couple of potentially game changing products. GeForce GRID is a cloud gaming solution. It allows PC game content to be run and rendered in the cloud and then streamed to any device that can run the GRID receiver utility, like a Smart TV, tablet, or a smartphone. GeForce GRID server architecture combines an NVIDIA-designed server packed with GPUs with NVIDIA-developed software and virtualization layer. A rack of 20 GRID servers was shown, powered by 240 GPUs, capable of 200 TFLOPS and roughly equivalent to the performance of 720 Xbox 360 consoles. The biggest news to come out of NVIDIA's press conference, however, had to do with Tegra 4. Not only was the next-gen SoC officially unveiled, but a new portable gaming device based on Tegra 4, dubbed Project SHIELD, was also demoed. NVIDIA's Tegra 4 builds upon the success of the Tegra 3 by incorporating updated ARM15-based CPU cores with 72 custom GeForce GPU cores, which offer up to 6x the performance of Tegra 3. The A15 cores used in Tegra 4 are up to 2.6x faster than the A9-class cores used in Tegra 3. As a companion to the Tegra 4, NVIDIA also took the wraps off of their new Icera i500 programmable 4G LTE modem processor. Icera i500 features 8 custom, programmable processor cores and is approximately 40% smaller than many fixed function modems. The biggest surprise to come out of NVIDIA's press conference was Project SHIELD, a Tegra 4-powered mobile gaming device running Android that's sure to put Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo on high alert. Project SHIELD offers a pure Android experience without any skinning or other customizations, save for the SHIELD app environment, that can play any Android game. Project SHIELD has the ability to stream PC games from a GeForce GTX-equipped PC as well. The device is shaped much like an Xbox 360 game controller, but features a 5", flip-out capacitive touch display with a 720P resolution. The device can also stream to an HD TV via HDMI or a WiDi-like wireless dongle. In fact, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed Project SHIELD playing a 4K video on an LG 4K TV."
It looks like the recent success of Linux gaming has caught Blizzard's eye. According to "a reliable source at the company" 2013 will be the year that "at least one of their very popular titles will see a release for Ubuntu Linux." From the article: "It's been a poorly-kept secret that Blizzard has a native Linux client of World of Warcraft. As recently as 2011, the World of Warcraft Linux client was still being maintained internally. The client has been around for years and done by their own developers as a form of testing for the popular MMORPG currently offered on Windows and Mac OS X. As for why they haven't released the client, it's come down to "targeting a specific version of the platform" with Linux being "unstandardized" due to the many different distributions. There's still some fundamental problems with gaming on Linux. With World of Warcraft working generally fine under Wine as well, the company is further unmotivated to officially support a Linux build of the game."
An anonymous reader writes with news that Valve has updated its Hardware & Software Survey for December 2012, which reflects the first month of the platform being available for Linux. Even though the project is still in a beta test, players on Ubuntu already account for 0.8% of Steam usage. The 64-bit clients for Ubuntu 12.10 and 12.04.1 showed about double the share of the 32-bit versions. MacOS use also showed growth, rising to about 3.7%. Windows 7's usage share dropped by over 2%, but balanced by the growth of Windows 8, which is now at just under 7%. The total share for Windows is still about 95%.
Leif_Bloomquist writes "Videos of the presentations from the recent World of Commodore, held December 1st 2012 in Toronto, have been published on YouTube. The presentations range from new product announcements to remakes of classic Commodore games for iPhone, from animation and music performances to coding tutorials and discussions for retro platforms. The revived World of Commodore is held annually on the first weekend of December by the Toronto PET Users Group."
An anonymous reader writes "An irritated father of a 23-year-old gamer hired 'In-game assassins' to attempt to make his son quit playing video games and have him get a job. 'Feng's idea was that his son would get bored of playing games if he was killed every time he logged on, and that he would start putting more effort into getting a job.' While the son recently had a job at a software development company he quit because he decided he didn't like the work."
silentbrad writes in with a story about a Sony patent that would block the playing of second-hand games. "... the patent application was filed on 9 December 2012 by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, and will work by linking individual game discs to a user's account without requiring a network connection meaning any future attempt to use this disc on another user's console won't work. The patent explains that games will come with contactless tags that will be read by your console in much the same way as modern bank cards. When a disc is first used, the disc ID and player ID will be stored on the tag. Every time the disc is used in future, the tag will check if the two ID's match up and, if not, then the disc won't work. The document goes on to explain that such a device is part of Sony's ongoing efforts to deter second-hand games sales, and is a far simpler solution than always-on DRM or passwords. It's worth noting that Sony has not confirmed the existence of the device, and the patent doesn't state what machine it will be used in, with later paragraphs also mentioning accessories and peripherals. ... There's also the issue of what happens should your console break and need replacing, or if you have more than one console. Will the games be linked to your PSN account, meaning they can still be used, or the console, meaning an entire new library of titles would need to be purchased?"
cathyreisenwitz writes "The 2012 bankruptcy of Rhode Island-based video-game developer 38 Studios isn't just a sad tale of a start-up tech company falling victim to the vagaries of a rough economy. It is a completely predictable story of crony capitalism, featuring star-struck legislators and the hubris of a larger-than-life athlete completely unprepared to compete in business." Reason makes no bones about its view of this kind of public-private "partnership."
DavidGilbert99 writes with this excerpt from IB Times: "The Sandy Hook shooting once again raised the debate about how much power violent videogames wield over teenagers. Following proclamations from the National Rifle Association and the establishment of a study by the National Academy of Sciences to investigate the psychological effects of violent games on children, a group in Connecticut is now having its say Southington, a town 30 miles from where the shooting took place, is offering gift tokens in exchange for violent videogames, as well as other violent media such as DVDs or videos. The group, called SouthingtonSOS, said in a statement: 'There is ample evidence that violent video games, along with violent media of all kinds, including TV and movies portraying story after story showing a continuous stream of violence and killing, has contributed to increasing aggressiveness, fear, anxiety and is desensitizing our children to acts of violence including bullying.'" And Yes, they plan to destroy the traded-in games. (Note: Beware the obnoxious auto-playing video ad with sound; adjust volume accordingly.)
realxmp writes "After many years in the wilderness, the BBC is reporting that the next sequel to Elite is in the works. After a long Kickstarter campaign, which squeaked through to its target in the last two days, the project was funded and soon many old gamers will be able to relive the joys of exploring the galaxy in what was one of the earliest space trading games."
Trepidity writes "AI systems can (sort of) paint and compose classical music, but can they design games? Slashdot looked at the question a few years ago, and several research groups now have experimental systems that design board games and platformers with varying levels of success. I've put together a survey of the AI game designers I know of, to round up what they can do so far (and what they can't). Are there any others out there? 'Pell's METAGAME is, to my knowledge, the first published game generator. He defines a generative space of games more general than chess, which he calls "symmetric, chess-like games." They're encoded in a representation specific to this genre, which is also symmetric by construction. By symmetric I mean that mechanics are specified only from the perspective of one player, with the starting positions and rules that apply to the other player always being the mirror of the first player's. The rules themselves are represented in a game grammar, and generation is done by stochastically sampling from that grammar, along with some checks for basic game playability, and generative-parameter knobs to tweak some aspects of what's likely to be generated.'"
An anonymous reader writes "PC Gamer has put together a huge list of PC games that are due to come out in 2013. They've broken out the lists by genre, and each list is pretty long. It looks like a good starting point for finding the games you want to keep an eye on. Here are some highlights: Star Wars 1313: 'Early glimpses suggest the game will ignore lightsabers and force powers in favor of gadgetry and guns, and the claims are for a more grounded and gritty fiction, instead of the fruity pan-galactic melodrama to which we are accustomed.' The Elder Scrolls Online: 'The real reason to watch The Elder Scrolls Online is the talent behind it – the ex-Mythic developers responsible for the innovative Warhammer: Age of Reckoning and, before that, Dark Age of Camelot. Don't write off the old-school MMO just yet.' Mars: War Logs: 'Say it with me: a cyberpunk RPG set on Mars. That's all you need to know.' Ring Runner: 'Missions challenge you to escape exploding trenches, battle bosses bigger than your screen, race against NPC pilots and engage in spectacular space skirmishes in an engine modeled on the laws of Newtonian physics.' There will also be new installments of Dragon Age, SimCity, Grand Theft Auto, StarCraft, Command & Conquer, and Everquest."
Dr Herbert West writes "Executing the cost-reduction plan CEO Mark Pincus announced in November, Zynga has shut down, pulled from the app stores, or stopped accepting new players to more than 10 games such as PetVille, Mafia Wars 2, FishVille, Vampire Wars, Treasure Isle, Indiana Jones Adventure World, Mafia Wars Shakedown, Forestville, Montopia, Mojitomo, and Word Scramble Challenge. Comments from gamers on the shutdown notices included things like 'my daughter is heartbroken' and 'Please don't remove petville. I been playing for 4 yrs. and I'M going to miss my pet Jaime.why do you want cause depression for me and others. Why do you want to kill my pet?' For players that have invested a lot of microtransactions and/or time, this comes as a heavy blow."
The PlayStation 3 may have overshadowed it technically, but the PlayStation 2 has seniority. Now, the PS2 is being retired in Japan after nearly 13 years. That doesn't mean the games have stopped: "To this day, developers have continued to release games on the platform due to its enduring popularity, with the last title in Japan, Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin, due out in March this year."
New submitter RMingin writes "Bruno Ferreira at Tech Report has a number of suggestions that he feels could improve PC gaming. Some are quite thought-provoking. For example: 'When technology advanced [in the '90s], the industry came up with a certification specification to ensure punters didn't miss out—and consequently spent more on better PCs. That spec was called MPC, short for Multimedia Personal Computer. The first version of the MPC spec said, in simple terms: Thy computer shalt be blessed with a sound card and speakers. Thou shalt be provided a CD-ROM drive in which to receive silver discs. Thy processor shalt not be completely crap. At the time, this spec meant a lot—and, to be honest, I think it worked marvelously. We need something like that again. People wanted MPC, everyone sold the better hardware, and everyone was happy. Let the powers that be come up with a new baseline specification. Call it MPC-HD or whatever acronym the marketing Nazgûl want to give it. I'm fine with whatever, as long as it gets the job done.' He also calls for an end to the unintuitive model numbers for GPUs and CPUs, and more consistent driver support."
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this year, the Android-based Ouya game console project raised over nine times as much funding as they initially asked for in their Kickstarter campaign. Now, Ouya developer consoles are starting to ship, and folks on the Ouya team released a video showing what the developers should expect. As explained in the video, the console currently being shipped is by no means the final hardware, but promises to give developers everything they need to start developing apps and games for Ouya. The only surprise is that they decided to add a micro-USB port to the hardware, making it easy to hook up to a PC. The Ouya team has also released an SDK for the device (which they call the ODK — Ouya Development Kit), and have provided most of the source under the Apache 2.0 license. They wrote, 'We think we’ve got a great team of developers here at OUYA, but there’s strength in numbers and a wealth of passionate, talented people out there. We want you, the developers of the world, to work alongside us to continually improve our platform. It’s our hope that releasing a more open ODK will help foster such innovation.'"
dotarray writes "One Colorado family received more than they'd bargained for this Christmas when they gave five-year-old Braydon Giles a pre-owned Nintendo 3DS that apparently still contained 'graphic images' from a previous owner. From the article: 'Refurbishing is an art, as well as a craft. The whole point is to make a gadget feel pristine, even when it used to be owned by a cult leader, a scout leader or an exhibitionist. Sadly, someone in a Colorado GameStop stopped refurbishing before the job was complete. So much so that 5-year-old Braydon Giles opened his Xmas gift — a Nintendo 3DS — and discovered images of naked people doing less than pristine things. As Channel 9 News tells it, Braydon showed the 3DS to his brother Bryton. He wanted his help to remove these weird pictures. '"
antdude writes "The National Purchase Diary (NPD) Group Blog reports that 'Internet Connected TVs Are Used To Watch TV, And That's About All — The Internet connected high definition television (HDTV) screen has so far failed to break beyond the bounds of its TV-centric heritage, with little use for the big screen beyond the obligatory video services. But the connection is being used to provide access to a far wider variety of alternative sources for video content. The latest NPD Connected Intelligence Application & Convergence report highlights that nearly six out of ten consumers who own a connected HDTV are accessing Over-the-Top video services through the device.' (Seen on DSL reports.)" Wired's headline on a story based on the same information puts things more bluntly: "No One Uses Smart TV Internet Because It Sucks."
jones_supa writes "Steam users worldwide are getting more than they expected this Christmas, courtesy of Valve. Increasingly annoyed reports are piling up on a Steam Community thread about an ominous 'No Connection' error. Depending on your luck, this means you can either start the client in offline mode and play only single-player games with anything related to the Steamworks cloud features disabled, or you cannot start Steam at all and consequently access anything in your library. However, store related functionality seems unaffected, in case this blunder made you feel like purchasing some more games you may or may not be able to play these holidays." Update: 12/25 17:45 GMT by T : The connection problems were fixed; did you hit the loading errors before they were resolved?
An anonymous reader writes "2 Player Productions, the producers of Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, on Saturday uploaded the documentary to The Pirate Bay. The news comes as a surprise move after an announcement earlier this week that the film is premiering today for free on Xbox Live to Gold subscribers. You can download it here."
arclightfire writes "So while games have come under spotlight via the debate about the causes of the tragic school shootings in the U.S., it is worth remembering that games are now a broad medium and far from all games are FPS games. Even those about war are not now just about shooting, as Endgame:Syria shows by covering an ongoing war; 'The subject matter for Endgame: Syria should not however be looked on from a trivialized angle; people and civilian casualties are dying every day over in Syria.'" The game is part of a series from Auroch Digital.
Open source (as Torque 3D recently became) is one thing; cross-platform is another. Now, reader iamnothing writes "GarageGames is heading to IndieGoGo to port Torque 3D to Linux. The campaign is centered around hiring a dedicated developer or team to port Torque 3D to Linux. The primary target is Ubuntu 32bit with other flavors of Linux as stretch goals. All work will be done in the public eye under our Github repository under the MIT license."
New submitter jotaass writes "In news that is guaranteed to make the Linux gaming community (in particular, but not exclusively) excited, Valve has just announced that the Steam for Linux client Beta is now open to the public. A .deb package is available here. Interesting as well, they are using an empty GitHub repository solely as an issue tracker, open for anyone to submit, edit and track bugs, with no actual code in the repo."
New submitter seepho writes "Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced a bill directing the National Academy of Sciences to lead an investigation to determine what impact violent video games have on children. Senator Rockefeller commented, 'Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people still do not get it. They believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons. Parents, pediatricians, and psychologists know better. These court decisions show we need to do more and explore ways Congress can lay additional groundwork on this issue. This report will be a critical resource in this process.'" This legislation was prompted by reports that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza was a gamer. A draft of the bill is available online.
Jon Brodkin writes "Pity poor Mega Man. The little blue robot boy with a gun for a hand was one of the most popular heroes in the Nintendo Entertainment System's heyday, starring in a video game series almost every bit as good as The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. The original Mega Man series resulted in some great games for the original NES and the Super Nintendo. But then he dropped (swiftly) from the face of the Earth. Attempts to bring Mega Man into the 3D world resulted in games not nearly as fun as their predecessors. Most recently, the planned Mega Man Legends 3 for Nintendo 3DS managed to generate a bit of fan excitement, but the project was canceled in July 2011. Gamers moved on — some grudgingly. Fans have clamored for Capcom to revive Mega Man for years, and it's happened to some extent. Mega Man 9 and 10 came out in 2008 and 2010, respectively, continuing the original series with the same graphical and gameplay style perfected in the 1980s. And Monday, something perhaps even more exciting occurred for Mega Man's 25th anniversary: the release of Street Fighter X Mega Man, a celebration of two excellent game series that have lost their luster in the HD age." Read on for the rest of Jon's review.
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Develop: "Games developed for the next-generation of consoles will still target a performance of 30 frames per second, claims id Software co-founder John Carmack. Taking to Twitter, the industry veteran said he could 'pretty much guarantee' developers would target the standard, rather than aiming for anything as high as 60 fps. id Software games, such as Rage, and the Call of Duty series both hit up to 60 fps, but many titles in the current generation fall short such as the likes of Battlefield 3, which runs at 30 fps on consoles. 'Unfortunately, I can pretty much guarantee that a lot of next gen games will still target 30 fps,' said Carmack."
An anonymous reader writes "Patrick Wyatt, one of the developers behind the original Warcraft and StarCraft games, as well as Diablo and Guild Wars, has a post about some of the bug hunting he's done throughout his career. He covers familiar topics — crunch time leading to stupid mistakes and finding bugs in compilers rather than game code — and shares a story about finding a way to diagnose hardware failure for players of Guild Wars. Quoting: '[Mike O'Brien] wrote a module ("OsStress") which would allocate a block of memory, perform calculations in that memory block, and then compare the results of the calculation to a table of known answers. He encoded this stress-test into the main game loop so that the computer would perform this verification step about 30-50 times per second. On a properly functioning computer this stress test should never fail, but surprisingly we discovered that on about 1% of the computers being used to play Guild Wars it did fail! One percent might not sound like a big deal, but when one million gamers play the game on any given day that means 10,000 would have at least one crash bug. Our programming team could spend weeks researching the bugs for just one day at that rate!'"
In this video (with transcript), we review Planetside 2, a new MMOFPS game from Sony Online Entertainment. The game is a true first-person shooter, using its MMO nature to bring a persistent world into play, with battles sometimes involving hundreds of players, and it does so without trying to shoe-horn in ill-fitting MMORPG tropes like questing, story development, or insurmountable gear disparities. The combat favors relative realism (you won't be rocket jumping around, and nobody gets to be Rambo), but it's mixed with vehicle combat in a way that manages to be entertaining without being unfair. Planetside 2 is free to play, using microtransactions to support itself. It wisely avoids selling gear you can't acquire in-game (aside from cosmetic stuff), and doesn't require purchases to be competitive. Hit the link below to see/read our review.
GNUman writes "Wired has an article about using videogames to get kids into engineering, starting with Kerbal Space Program, a indie physics-driven sandbox where you build your own spaceship and explore space. I have had much fun with this game the past year and I have actually learned a bit of rocket engineering and orbital mechanics while at it. The article also mentions Minecraft, World of Goo, Amazing Alex, Patterns, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Fantastic Contraption and SpaceChem. I really like the idea of games that are great fun while fostering creativity and even learning in the process. What games would you add to this list?"
crookedvulture writes "AMD is bundling a stack of the latest games with graphics cards like its Radeon HD 7950. One might expect the Radeon to perform well in those games, and it does. Sort of. The Radeon posts high FPS numbers, the metric commonly used to measure graphics performance. However, it doesn't feel quite as smooth as the competing Nvidia solution, which actually scores lower on the FPS scale. This comparison of the Radeon HD 7950 and GeForce 660 Ti takes a closer look at individual frame latencies to explain why. Turns out the Radeon suffers from frequent, measurable latency spikes that noticeably disrupt the smoothness of animation without lowering the FPS average substantially. This trait spans multiple games, cards, and operating systems, and it's 'raised some alarms' internally at AMD. Looks like Radeons may have problems with smooth frame delivery in new games despite boasting competitive FPS averages."
skade88 points out comments from Blizzard exec Rob Pardo, who says the company has internal builds of Diablo 3 running on consoles. It's been known for months that Blizzard has been working on something like this, but now we have the first indication of how far along the project is. Pardo said, "We're still kind of exploring it. We've got builds up and running on it. We're hoping to get it far enough along where we can make it an official project, but we're not quite ready to release stuff about it. But it's looking pretty cool." According to lead designer Jay Wilson, we'll start seeing information on "the next big Diablo thing" next year, which probably refers to an expansion.
An anonymous reader writes "BSNES author and game collector Byuu has decided to put his entire collection of SNES games up for sale — at the low price of 24,999USD. The collection covers *every* game ever made for SNES, all in the original covers. From the article: 'The seller, who goes by the name "Byuu" on Reddit, says that every single game in the collection comes with its original box and approximately 85 percent of the games come with their original manuals. The collection does not include unlicensed games, and every game has been professionally cleaned and tested. "They all work perfectly," Byuu says.'"
Professor Lampe is using gamification in his 200-student lecture classes to make them more interesting. He says big-class lectures can often be as boring for the professor as they are for the students. A little bit of game-type action can spice things up and make classes more interesting. Near the end of the video he points out that gamification is becoming popular for employee training in private enterprise, so why not use the concept in universities and other educational institutions?
SternisheFan writes "As Syria's rebels work to overthrow the tank-equipped Assad regime, they've learned that it helps to have tanks of their own. They deserve bonus points for integrating video game technology. This is no exaggeration. Have a look at the opposition forces' "100 percent made in Syria" armored vehicle, the Sham II. Named for ancient Syria and assembled out of spare parts over the course of a month, the Sham II is sort of rough around the edges, but it's got impressive guts. It rides on the chassis of an old diesel car and is fully encased in light steel that's rusted from the elements. Five cameras are mounted around the tank's outside, and there's a machine gun mounted on a turning turret. Inside, it kind of looks like a man cave. A couple of flat screen TVs are mounted on opposite walls. The driver sits in front of one, controlling the vehicle with a steering wheel, and the gunner sits at the other, aiming the machine gun with a Playstation controller."
symbolset writes "The Verge is reporting that the Steam Console we discussed in November is a real thing. Gabe Newell said it will be a locked down platform for the living room. The source is a Kotaku interview with Newell at the Video Game Awards. Newell said, 'Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment. If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general-purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room. The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions, and customers can find the ones that work best for them.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Riot Games created the very successful League of Legends gaming franchise, which hosts millions of monthly users. Barry Livingston, director of engineering for the company's Big Data group, talks about how Riot Games scaled up to deal with that enormous data load. Consider all the millions of people playing the game in real time. Picture joining three massive tables — player data, game data, and session data — and you begin to see the full scope of Riot Games' issue. Gamer activity generates more than 500 GB of structured data and over four TB of operational logs every day. Riot Games has also posted 60 open-source Chef and Opscode recipes, among other code samples."
Aglassis writes "Eurogamer has reported that famed D&D and computer game designer Colin McComb is working on a spiritual sequel to Planescape: Torment. The game will be set outside of the Planescape campaign setting due to an inability to come to an agreement with Wizards of the Coast. The lead designer on the original game, Chris Avellone, has apparently given his blessing." McComb posted recently about the nature of Planescape and what would define a new game. He wrote, "Any setting that rewards the player for internal exploration (certainly deeper than, 'Can I hit it? How much loot does it have?') could host a similar story. As long as there’s a fantastical element to the world–whether straight fantasy or science-fantasy–these questions become possible and desirable. The farther away we stray from comfortable routine, the more likely we are to challenge ourselves, trying to define our place in the world. A boring setting frequently leads to boring questions; we know the drill and don’t have to examine it closely. But a fantastic setting forces us to re-examine the world, to take it in a fresh light, and to see that our fundamental truths may be flawed. That is at the heart of a Torment story."
kc67 writes "Nintendo of Europe is blocking Wii U content in the region that is rated PEGI 18+ between the hours of 3 a.m. and 11 p.m., according to a Eurogamer report. Under these stipulations, the four-hour window of 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. is the only time users can purchase games like ZombiU or Assassin's Creed III or even view trailers for such games. The story originated from a NeoGAF forum user, which reportedly received an email from Nintendo saying the following: 'Dear customer, we would like to let you know that Nintendo has always aimed to offer gameplay experiences suited to all age groups, observing carefully all the relevant regulations regarding content access that are present in the various European countries. We have thus decided to restrict the access to content which is unsuitable to minors (PEGI) to the 11 p.m.- 3 a.m. time window.' Eurogamer has since verified the claim. It received a message stating 'You cannot view this content' and 'The times during which this content can be viewed have been restricted.' Nintendo has yet to comment on the matter."
New submitter OldTimeRadio writes "Over the last month, both game publishers and gaming communities alike were surprised to find their GameSpy multiplayer support suddenly disabled by GLU Mobile, who purchased GameSpy from IGN this August. Many games, including Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Swat 4, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War, Star Wars: Battlefront are no longer able to find (and in some cases even host) multiplayer games. While games like Neverwinter Nights are still able to directly connect to servers if players know the IP address, less-fortunate gamers expressed outrage on GLU Mobile's 'Powered by GameSpy' Facebook page. In an open letter to their Sniper Elite gaming community today, UK game developer Rebellion explained it was helpless to change the situation: 'A few weeks ago, the online multiplayer servers for Sniper Elite were suddenly switched off by Glu, the third-party service we had been paying to maintain them. This decision by Glu was not taken in consultation with us and was beyond our control. We have been talking to them since to try and get the servers turned back on. We have been informed that in order to do so would cost us tens of thousands of pounds a year — far in excess of how much we were paying previously. We also do not have the option to take the multiplayer to a different provider. Because the game relies on Glu and Gamespy's middleware, the entire multiplayer aspect of the game would have to be redeveloped by us, again, at the cost of many tens of thousands of pounds.""
Deathspawner writes "Perhaps hinting at the fact that the official Steam for Linux launch isn't too far off, Valve has begun updating some game pages to include Linux system requirements. Some games don't list only Ubuntu as the main supported distro, with some listing Linux Mint and Fedora as well. A common theme is that Valve recommends you always use a 'fully updated' OS, regardless of which distro you use. And based on the system requirements laid out so far, it's safe to say that Serious Sam 3: BFE will undoubtedly be the most system-intensive game released at launch."
Barence writes "Great Big War Game, a popular iOS and Android app, made only £52 in its first week on Windows RT. In an angry blog post titled 'Windows RT — Born to fail,' UK-based developer Rubicon blamed Microsoft for the paltry sum and said it won't be bringing any more of its titles to the fledgling platform. It seems Microsoft refused to promote the app as it would only run on Windows RT devices. However, Microsoft quickly got in touch with Rubicon, and the post was deleted and replaced with an apologetic response saying, 'Microsoft have graciously decided work with us to iron out the problems and get us past this incident.' Rubicon will be hoping that £52 figure improves quickly, as it spent £10,000 porting the game to Windows RT."